When I ventured out to declare “The Best Wines on Planet Earth” in white wines and vowed to keep the emphasis on the West Coast, I had made myself a true challenge. Especially in the Northwest, white wines are almost an afterthought or side project as Americans stomp their feet in demand for big, full, dynamic reds, or worse — sweet cheap dreck.
Either way, capturing the great whites of the Northwest is no easy task. Of all the benefits of our Salut! Wine Club, having help finding the best whites is one of the most valued…and Cougar Crest’s Viognier has just made our list.
Viognier never made headlines in France’s Rhone Valley where is has been blended for centuries with Marsanne and Rousanne. Until the 80’s, Americans had no desire to learn grape names, so it lanquished as a hard-to-grow varietal, until now. Americans are discovering that it grows just fine here, thank you very much. And it creates aromatic, full-bodied whites without the need for massive oak to bring out massive flavor. Bold stone fruits and floral aromas burst from every glass, making it a perfect pair for spicy fare and America’s craving for big wines. It still takes a master to tame this grape into elegance, and Cougar Crest has practice. They’ve brought us a delicious version with balance, flavor, body and plenty of clean acidity.
The winery states: “Aromas of honeysuckle, white peach, and melon prepare the palate for a juicy melange of pear and pineapple, citrus, and honeydew. Stainless steel fermentation and no malolatic fermentation allow for a crisp finish, with a honey-like mouthfeel.”
Don’t miss trying this wine, especially with recipes like the ones we’ve linked below. This is a full wine ready to pair with heartier white meats and white fish dishes next to fruit chutneys. Never mind the savory fare…collect the fruit and let the dance of flavors begin!
This wine is available at Salut! Wine Co. for $21.99, or available to wine club members for only $18.69!
Visit the Cougar Crest Website
See Gary Vaynerchuk review this wine on video on WineLibraryTV
About Viognier at Wikipedia
Visit the Walla Walla Wine Alliance to learn all about the region
An article about France’s only 100% Viognier wines is found here.
France’s Rhone Valley is where Viognier’s fame began.
Have you tasted this wine? When you’ve had a chance to enjoy this wine, please return to this blog and leave your comments! Others will appreciate your input, unique viewpoint, and recommendations.